It was a homecoming for the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, as he assumed duties on Wednesday at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari, while swearing in his new ministers at State House Abuja, announced that Mr Sylva would be working under him, as he retains the top portfolio in the ministry as the substantive Minister.
But for Olamilekan Adegbite, an architect, it was his first day at work at the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and it began shortly after he was sworn-in by President Buhari as the Minister.
Mr Adegbite was in the company of his counterpart and Minister of State, Uchechukwu Ogah.
Mr Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa State, once served as the Senior Special Assistant to the then Minister of State for Energy, Petroleum Resources, Edmund Daukoru, between July 2005 and May 2007.
In his first meeting with the staff of the ministry shortly after the inauguration, Mr Sylva pledged to reposition the ministry and chart a way forward for the Nigerian petroleum sector.
A statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, quoted Mr Sylva saying he would work with the experts at the NNPC and the other departments and agencies under the ministry to move the sector forward.
In a brief welcome ceremony at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, the new Minister of State, who was accompanied by his wife, Alanyingi, said with the calibre of the workforce in the Ministry, he was sure that the nation’s oil and gas sector would move to the next level.
During his first duty tour in the ministry, Mr Sylva assisted Mr Daukoru to initiate and implement policies that brought the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta region which, over time, has helped in restoring peace in the country’s oil-producing areas.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Folashade Yemi-Esan, reassured Mr Sylva of the readiness of the staff to support him in transforming the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
Also in attendance at the reception for the minister were the top management of the NNPC led by the Group Managing director, Mele Kyari; Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Training Development Fund (PTDF), Bello Gusau, and the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Ahmed Bobboi.
At the Mines and Steel Development ministry, it was a new chapter being opened, as the management and staff extolled the qualities and calibre of the ministers sent to them.
“With the calibre of these ministers, there is no doubt there is going to be a total transformation of the ministry to meet its expectations by the present administration,” one senior official said at the reception for the ministers.
The official requested his name should not be revealed as he did not speak in his official capacity.
In his brief remarks, the new minister said teamwork is required for the success of the ministry.
Mr Adegbite said for the ministry to achieve greatness, there is a need for concerted effort and cross-breeding of ideas.
He emphasised the need to combat the menace of corruption in society. He said with the commitment of the present administration to pulling over 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, his team has resolved for the ministry to contribute about 40 per cent within four years of inclusive efforts.
On his part, the new Minister of State, Mr Ogah underlined the essence of unity and brotherhood as the catchword.
He urged the management and staff of the ministry to see them as those on an assignment to deploy their technical and professional know-how to move the ministry forward.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Abdulkadir Mu’azu, commended the contributions of the former minister, and now Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, saying the ministry was still geared towards total revolution for better results.
Mr Mu’azu reiterated the commitment of the management and staff of the ministry to aid the ministers in achieving greatness during their tenure in the ministry.
He emphasised the strategic importance of the ministry in the drive to achieve economic diversification of the present administration.